On the ground floor of a colorful Brookline, MA, home that designer Kati Curtis recently completed for color-loving clients, you’ll find a bright space with a vibrant rug, high-gloss pink walls, inviting window seats for reading, and storage for every toy imaginable. It’s just about the chicest playroom you’ll ever see—and that’s because it’s designed to be more than that. You see, when Curtis was designing this (hopefully forever) home for a young family, she was thinking longterm. “It should have been a formal dining room,” Curtis says of the space. “But I knew that wasn’t what they would use it for now, so I said, ‘you’re going to be here forever, so let’s forget resale value and do what works.'”
What worked was to create a fun and functional playroom for now, with the back-burner plan of turning it into a formal dining room once the kids grew out of it. “So instead of a formal dining room, it became a playroom, and it’s really the perfect spot for a playroom since it’s right off the front door,” Curtis says.
While most homeowners wouldn’t necessarily put a playroom so front and center, with Curtis’s longview design, it makes sense. The space is both beautiful and super functional—interestingly, many necessities for a playroom can easily convert to a dining room: “We did built-in storage for toys, but that could be used as a buffet eventually and store flatware and dishes,” says Curtis.
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Even the more decorative elements span both uses: “The wallpaper in there—from Brett Design—is super fun, but it feels like a take on that more traditional Victorian,” she says. The vintage brutalist chandeliers, meanwhile, are out of the way of clumsy hands that might knock over a floor or table lamp, but “would also look great over a dining table down the line,” says Curtis.
In the meantime, she cozied up the room with upholstered window seats, vintage armchairs, wooden side tables, and lots of throw blankets and pillows—all elements that, when the time eventually comes, can be easily removed to make way for a dining table, chairs, and a sideboard…no demo necessary. This way, says the designer, “the room can evolve with them.”
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